Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Danny MacAskill
This is called trials riding. In my early mountain biking days Jason and I used to play at this sort of stuff, although he was waaaay beter than me; he even competed once or twice. I wasn’t serious about it. The height of my ability was to balance-ride along a ten-foot-long, six-inch-wide curb. We had a friend at De Anza, though, named Peter, who was possibly as good as the guy in this video. A couple of tricks are death-defying. The tree trick alone (wait for the second time it’s in the video) sent shivers up and down my body and practically made me faint. The cool song is by Band of Horses; check ’em out, they’re really good.

Awesome Firefox add-on.

Amazing paper cut artist. She makes other cool stuff too.
Happy Cog is redesigning, and inviting the community into the process. The current is a bit clunky, and if they can come up with something as good as the site, I'll be satisfied. I trust Happy Cog will come up with something good. Check out three of the contenders now.

28-Hour Day
Oh man, I really need to adopt this.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” played by old computer parts
The maker says there was not sampling or effects used.

Japanese Olympics
Featuring awesome low-fi 3D effects.

Punk Kittens
My favorite new cover band. And then there’s this one.

The Lord of the Rings re-read
Kate Nepveu’s re-reading the entirety of The Lord of the Rings and writing about them on

San Francisco Center for the Book
Awesome. I didn’t know they have letterpress printing classes!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Making of a logo
Designer Brian Potstra walks us through the making of a logo in this Flickr set.

“Black Betty” by Ram Jam
Ahh, the ’70s. The good ol’ days when you could make a legitimate song out of a dozen or so otherwise totally unrelated riffs.

Digg introduced a new feature two weeks ago and it’s brilliantly executed. The ability to easily make a shortURL is awesome. Watch this short video for an explanation, or go here to see it in action.

Rapping flight attendant
“You will not get that on United Airlines, I guarantee you.”

Friday the 12th
Epic disappointment.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thursday Top 5

How Peeps are made
Photos: Inside Just Born, the manufacturing factory of marshmallow Peeps in Bethlehem, PA.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on “The Colbert Report” last week [7:10 min]

Osbournes Reloaded: Episode 1
I had no idea there even was a new Osbournes show. I only learned about it through someone’s tweet. It’s kind of a variety/game show. Lots of swearing (censored, since it’s on Fox), but not bad really, all things considered. Ozzy even looks pretty good. I have to say, the ending of this first episode is truly over the top. [28:59 min]

For the Love of Vinyl: Aubrey “Po” Powell on Hipgnosis
Hipgnosis was the design firm behind some of the most influential and recognizable (not to mention strangest) album covers of the 1970s and ’80s, having worked with artists such as Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, and Led Zeppelin. The principals have put out a retrospective book: For the Love of Vinyl: The Album Art of Hipgnosis. [8:42 min]

Bill Gates on Facebook
40 billion reasons why he’s better than Steve Jobs.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Portfolio and site redesign update

I teased you with a few designs last month from the upcoming all-new portfolio. Here are a few more.

The progress is going well, although I’m slowed down when I take contract work, which I did again in mid-March. The last image is from that new work, btw.

I’m starting to apply for jobs, so I’m having to send people to an unfinished version of the site online (no, you can’t see it yet). I feel a little lame showing a partly broken website to people I’m asking to hire me. But they’re all professionals, they’ll understand that’s how it goes in the webdev world sometimes.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Youngme Nowme
A thread full of photos of people posed the same way, then and now.

Think Taste — Not Waste!
My friend Laura Stec is featured on MSN’s Health & Fitness channel in this article and short video. She shows a quick tip for making soup stock from the detritus of your cooking chores, using mushroom stalks, pepper “skeletons,” carrot peelings, and more. This “food waste,” which you might otherwise throw in the garbage, causes our nation’s landfills to output more harmful methane (a climate-disruptive greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide) than all the livestock in the U.S. Buy Laura Stec’s book, it’s great!

San Francisco Bay Model
Velma and I were thinking of going to see this last weekend since we were going to explore Sausalito a bit, but it’s only open until 4pm on Saturdays, so it’ll have to be another trip. The walk-through hydraulic model takes up two buildings and is apparently the size of two football fields. According to the guy in the video, it was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950s to test an idea they had to dam the bay. I once saw an old map of another Army Corps concept they had in the ’50s or ’60s, to fill the entire bay with landfill except for a narrow shipping channel. Communities could then build all the way into the middle of the bay. I shudder to think of the Bay Area we would live in today if that had been allowed to happen. [3:51min] More about the Bay Model (yes, their site is awful).

Neverland on the Block: Inside the Michael Jackson Auction
Michael Jackson’s Neverland is going up for auction. Rolling Stone has pictures of some of the creepy stuff for sale.

Interview with sci-fi author John Scalzi
I really enjoyed his book The Ghost Brigades, and I really enjoyed this interview too. It starts with this intro by interviewer Jason Henninger: “John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War took me by surprise. I picked up the book because I’d heard a lot of good things about him and decided I’d give it a one-page tryout. Either he’d grip me right away or I’d drop it. Twenty pages later I realized I hadn’t moved from the spot. OK, John. Grip achieved.”

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

What I've been doing (Mar 2009)

list #1
list #2
list #3
list #4
list #5

List #6, started March 1:
  • Updated some posts:
  • Organized some more of my fonts. It’s an ongoing thing. I have lots and lots of fonts.
  • Scanned some old photos and uploaded them to Facebook, tagged people.
  • Met with a former coworker about doing some design work for his new company.
  • Went downtown and had coffee with Jason, took some photos in Yerba Buena Park during a break in the rain.
  • Moved some stuff in the garage/basement up off the floor and onto styrofoam, since the floor got wet from heavy rains.
  • Re-set up our land line, to try it out for two months and see if we still want one.
  • Took photos and scanned more stuff for the new portfolio. Since I don’t have proper studio equipment for product photography, there’s a lot of color-correction necessary in Photoshop.
  • Added a dozen or so people to my list of co-conspirators (the friends list in the sidebar of every journal entry).
  • Listened to the audio on Denis Leary’s website while I researched symbols in a book.
  • Read some Wikipedia pages:
  • Edited a couple Wikipedia pages for quick corrections/additions.
  • Gathered a lot of research and assets for data visualization, for a client project I was starting.
  • Spent 61 minutes on the phone with a PG&E rep who was actually helpful and listened to me (instead of interrupting me or telling me to hurry up, like the assholes at PG&E’s Credit Dept.). At the end of the call, I asked to talk with her supervisor so I could tell him/her what a good job she did, and then my call got cut off during transfer. Do’h! I even called back, but of course got a totally different rep, who explained they have multiple call centers and there was no way to figure out who the other rep was, even by looking at my account for her notes. *sigh* I tried.
  • Sent another letter to my local supervisor, urging passage of the Do Not Mail Resolution in San Francisco.
  • Perused a recent copy of my high school’s student newspaper. Fascinating to see that the more things change, the more things stay the same. But it's definitely cool that they have a pretty good website and full PDF downloads of each print issue.
  • Sprayed some WD40 on a couple squeeky doors around the flat.
  • Did laundry.
  • Let the cat in and out. A lot.
  • Made some digital illustrations.
  • Made a desktop image with my new logo.
  • Did a lot of work on a new client project.
  • Went with Velma to Flora Grubb Gardens, the pricey but lovely nursery, bought some plants, and put them in the ground.
  • Updated system software, iLife 09, and practically everything in the Adobe CS4 suite.
  • Finally, finally, finally found an old copy (from 1999!) of DiskDoubler (OS 9) on an old backup CD-ROM that I could install on my old G4 (which thankfully I kept, because it still runs OS 9, whereas my Intel Mac Pro does not), so I can finally unarchive hundreds of old files I’ve been trying to open for several years. Posted an archive of it on my website for the other people out there who are in the same boat I was in (I’ve been searching, periodically, on obscure Mac forums for a solution to this for about three years, and I’ve seen other people looking for the same thing).
  • Moved 75% of my office furniture around one night.
  • Designed a quick banner for the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards, plus a black and white version of the logo for laser engraving on the plaques.
  • Reorganized a small bit of stuff each day in my office. I’m a big fan of the “Chip away at it” principle.
  • Washed a lot of dishes.
  • Set to work on the time-consuming task of cleaning up me and Velma’s iTunes library. Not done yet, but tasks include:
  • Move the library and all associated files to my Mac Pro, since trying to fix it on the Mac Mini would take a lifetime.
  • Trick iTunes on my MacPro into using the other library (easy to do with aliases).
  • Consolidate music files from several HDs.
  • Try out some de-duping apps, fix broken songs and ID tags, find missing album art, etc.
  • Split music into separate libraries over two drives (maybe).
  • Run CoverScout to find missing album artwork. Try some other similar apps or scripts.
  • Ripped some more CDs to my iTunes. Also imported about 10,000 songs I hadn’t added yet.
  • Stayed awake for 32 hours to try to reset my sleep clock. Then crashed for about 15 hours. Now I’m kinda back where I started : \ meh. My body thinks it lives on a planet with a 26-hour day, which really fucks me up.
  • Looked into some iPod/iPhone stereos since Velma wants something that’ll play CDs, radio, and MP3s in the kitchen.
  • Met with Diane for an hour so she could give me some newly prepped files for her website.
  • Made a quick page on a friend’s website so she could make an announcement using an embedded video.
  • Created Facebook friends groups so I could keep track of people easier, and filter my Home activity stream for easier reading.
  • Made a list of all my hobby projects. 38 and counting, yikes!
  • Reviewed Laura Stec’s book on Amazon.
  • Revised my résumé and LinkedIn profile.
  • Walked to Pancho Villa for a burrito, taking photos on the way, during the best time of day for photography.
  • Sent thank you emails to two SF supervisors for passing the country’s first resolution supporting a national Do Not Mail Registry.
  • Helped Velma by starting dinner a couple times before she got home, so she could rush off to some meeting or another right after dinner. I’m really not a very skilled cook, so she had to email me directions : )
  • Went with Velma to a new (to us) Thai place in our neighborhood: Dusit Thai. Very good soups, but the main dishes were less flavorful than I had hoped for.
  • Had a quick Chocolate Chip Cookie Meeting with Velma.
  • Ate cookies.
  • Kept this list, added links to it, and posted it.

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